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PM, China’s Wang pledge upgrade in bilateral ties

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Prime Minister Hun Sen (left) meets with Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi during a meeting in Phnom Penh on August 3. SPM

PM, China’s Wang pledge upgrade in bilateral ties

Cambodia and China are committed to promoting trade, encouraging Chinese investors to invest in businesses and increasing direct flights to Cambodia, opening up larger markets for Cambodian agricultural imports.

The commitments were made during a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, who led a delegation, at the Peace Palace, on the sidelines of the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Summit on August 3.

During the meeting, Hun Sen asked China to provide more support as Cambodia has set clear goals, particularly to support the sustainable development goals.

He acknowledged China’s longtime support, including investments and assistance in infrastructure development.

He said the reopening of the economy has made it possible for Cambodia to export more and increase its revenue.

In the last seven months, trade volume between Cambodia and China has already reached over $9 billion, compared to last year’s total figure of $11 billion, according to the premier.

“What Cambodia wants to see is a new trade volume target with China – for it to increase to $15 billion,” Hun Sen said, citing the bilateral free trade agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as the reason for the new goal.

At the same time, the premier also asked Wang to continue helping Cambodia by importing Cambodian crops and agricultural products, such as milled rice and longan, given the high demand in China.

The foreign minister confirmed that China would continue being part of Cambodia’s economic growth and other areas, and that it would strongly support Cambodia.

“Although China currently has the largest investment, China will continue to invest in Cambodia and will encourage the business community to continue investing here,” Wang said.

Regarding agricultural products, China is committed to import agricultural crops and products from Cambodia because China is a large market, hence the high demand, he added.

Meanwhile, Hun Sen hoped China would increase investment in Cambodia and help in the energy sector while adding more flights between the countries to boost the tourism sector.

In response, Wang said: “Flights have returned to normal and China will consider increasing flights between the two countries.

“In terms of the energy sector, the Chinese side will look into it and study together to promote the energy sector.”

Official statistics from the Chinese embassy revealed that Sino-Cambodian trade volume reached $3.75 billion, up 39.2 per cent year-on-year, in the first quarter of this year.

In the same period, Chinese non-financial direct investment in Cambodia stood at $206 million, up 35.2 per cent year-on-year, while the Kingdom’s investment in China amounted to $24.9 million, up 255 per cent year-on-year.

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